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Health Ministry on alert over coronavirus

Jan 29, 2020, 1:33 PM

The Ministry of Health informs the public that it is fully aware of the coronavirus outbreak in China and is monitoring the situation.  A press release from the ministry informs that the coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause common cold to other severe respiratory illnesses. The Ministry of Health is currently engaging relevant local and international partners such as World Health Organization, African Centre for Disease Control, West Africa Health Organization and United States Centre for Disease Control to share information on recommended case definitions, protocols on case detection and management, sample collection and transport to designated regional laboratories to better prepare the country for proper response to the ongoing pandemic.  According to the release, the Ministry of Health is in contact with and has shared relevant information with health regions and hospitals to be on the alert. It adds that it is strengthening the surveillance system especially at Points of Entry (land, sea and air) to enhance screening for severe respiratory illnesses and history of travel.  According the World Health Organization, the outbreak does not yet constitute a global health emergency, and all measures to prevent the disease from entering The Gambia will be put up by the Ministry of Health and its partners.  The release advised the public to report fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties to the nearest health facility or call Toll Free Number 1025 for more information.  The Ministry of Health also advises the public to wash hands with soap, avoid close contact with people who are coughing and having fever and to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like doorknobs, tables, chairs among others as precautionary measures.